The spring in Europe’s step


As Europe begins to wake up from its winter slumber, we’ve highlighted a few of our favourite destinations that truly come to life in spring. Discover the vibrant cities, picture-perfect rural landscapes and relaxing retreats just waiting to be explored.

Amsterdam

The Dutch capital of Amsterdam truly comes into bloom during the spring months. Everywhere you turn, you’ll be met with colourful displays of tulips. There’s a reason these flowers have become synonymous with the Netherlands and they are a sight to see if they are to truly be appreciated. The country’s annual Tulip Festival marks the beginning of spring, as numerous events take place to celebrate the humble flower. Explore the world-famous flower strip as you walk or cycle through row-upon-row of multicoloured tulip fields, and visit Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s biggest flower garden, where seven million blossoming bulbs are displayed amongst sculptures and other works of art.
 
In 2022, the once-a-decade Dutch international horticultural fair, Floriade, will celebrate all things floral in the ‘garden city’ of Almere. Just outside of Amsterdam, the park will come alive with the sights and smells of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Adopting the theme Growing Green Cities, exhibitions from over 30 countries will be invited to display solutions to living a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. Ride the 850-metre cable car network between the southern and northern parts, enjoying a stunning view of the inspiring gardens beneath.
 
Elsewhere, the city’s iconic canal system is enjoyable on foot or by Scenic e-bike, available at no extra cost, if you wish to explore as the locals do. Alternatively, board a traditional glass-top canal boat to take in the city’s historical centre from the water as part our Scenic Freechoice program. The gabled buildings, cobbled streets and quaint canal boats of the city will certainly charm you.
 
Experience Floriade for yourself as part of our 8 day Windmills, Tulips & Belgian Delights itinerary, or as a pre- or post-cruise stay with our 8 day Rhine Highlights, 8 day Gems of the Danube and 15 day Jewels of Europe itineraries.

Bucharest

Bucharest stands proudly on the banks of the Dâmbovița River and its charm is undeniable. The Romanian capital is especially picturesque during the spring months and best explored on foot. A true sensory awakening, spring welcomes warmer temperatures and the many gardens burst into life with colour and fragrance. Relax with a picnic in the Cișmigiu Gardens, a 17-hectare English-inspired garden, as you watch the local wildlife flock around the tranquil lake. Explore Bucharest Botanical Garden on a wonderful seasonal walk and discover the numerous animal, bird and plant species inhabiting the stunning Vacaresti Nature Park. Scenic Freechoice will invite those travelling on our 9 day Black Sea Explorer itinerary to learn about traditional Romanian life at the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, an open-air museum perfectly suited to the comfortable spring climate.
 
The beautiful Romanian Athenaeum concert hall is an idyllic location to enjoy a classical performance after wandering round the ornate Parcul Ateneului gardens, while cultural landmarks like the Palace of the Parliament, the Arcul de Triumf and the Old Town symbolise this dynamic city’s rich history.

Lyon

Lyon in spring is all about the serene and verdant landscapes. Explore the expansive Parc de la Tête d’Or, wandering among the beautiful flowers, trees and boating lake. A picnic in the park with a spread of French cheese, wine and strawberries is the perfect way to enjoy a balmy spring afternoon in this beautiful city. Before you leave, make sure you visit the Botanical Gardens, housed within the park, to see a magnificent collection of plants from around the world.
 
You can also soak up the sights of the city by taking a relaxing stroll or bike ride along the Rhône riverbank enjoying the comfortable warmth of the midday sun. Witness the impressive Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière on the hilltop, the ancient Cathedral of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, and the spires of the St. George Church of Lyon. Visit Lyon on our enchanting 11 day South of France itinerary, or foodies can enjoy the very best of France’s gastronomic capital on our 11 day Tastes of Southern France river cruise along the Rhone and Saone rivers.
 
Visit Lyon on our enchanting 11 day South of France itinerary, or foodies can enjoy the very best of France’s gastronomic capital on our 11 day Tastes of Southern France river cruise along the Rhone and Saone rivers.

Salzburg

With the Alps on its doorstep, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Salzburg is a winter destination. While the slopes come alive during the cold months, springtime can prove magical in this mesmerising city.
 
Birthplace of Mozart and stunning backdrop to the Sound of Music, Salzburg’s beauty knows no bounds. In spring, once the excitement of ski season has subsided, the beautiful Austrian city adopts a slower pace, perfect for exploring its plentiful landmarks. Make the most of the comfortable climate and hike up to Hohensalzburg Fortress. Magnificently situated atop a mountain, it’s the largest preserved castle in central Europe and offers 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape.
 
Enjoy a quieter walk along the Getreidegasse in the UNESCO World-Heritage-listed Old Town, where quirky architecture and ornate doors and windows make every angle one of interest. Be sure to look out for number 9, the house where Mozart was born and where he lived until he was 17. Walk in the footsteps of the Von Trapp family during our Scenic Enrich Best of the Sound of Music and Salzburg Show, a walking tour of the main sights from the film, including the Mirabell Palace & Gardens. The marble hall was once a performance venue frequented by the Mozart family and now works as an exquisite wedding venue. The extraordinary Baroque-style gardens are home to a theatre, a chapel, an orangery and a number of ornate fountains, one of which you may recognise as a prominent feature in the Sound of Music. It’s unsurprising that creatives are inspired here, it is a city that truly has it all.

Bordeaux

The beautiful UNESCO World Heritage-listed French port city is famed for its delicious selection of red wines, and what better way to find your favourite that on an exploration of the many vineyards along the Bordeaux Wine Route? Spring temperatures make cycle excursions a joy as you enjoy just the right amount of sun in comfortable heat. Witness row-upon-row of vines and stop off for little tasters as you learn about the wine-making process in one of the many chateaux dotted along the countryside.

Take to the streets to enjoy an abundance of elegant architecture, including the Triangle d’Or, and peruse local markets to pick up regional and seasonal delicacies to take back home with you. Once evening rolls around, Scenic Enrich invites you to make the most of the longer daylight hours as you enjoy a delicious glass of wine in the stunning gardens of Château d’Agassac, with a private classical music concert as your accompaniment.

Bratislava

Warmer spring weather breathes life into Bratislava, where the city’s history is best explored on guided walks or bike rides of its many attractions. The rectangular figure of Bratislava Castle perches atop a hill of the Carpathian Mountains and provides excellent views of the city and river, especially as the spring sun sparkles across the Danube. Make time to visit Michael’s Gate, St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Presidential Palace, before stopping for a drink in one of the many cafés as they spill into the streets for al fresco service. And, foodies will revel in the opportunity to shop for seasonal produce at one of the city’s bustling farmer’s market on our 16 day Danube Delta Discovery itinerary.
 
Bratislava’s many parks make for wonderful meeting spots for walking and activities. Visit the Botanical Garden, where thousands of tropical and subtropical plants, cactuses, palm trees and roses create a fairytale-like environment you’ll want to capture on camera. On the southern edge of the Carpathian mountain range, Železná Studnička is part of Bratislava Forest Park and one of the city’s most popular parks, home to springs, wetlands and wells. Take a chairlift to Kamzík, a 168-metre-high tower, for outstanding views of your beautiful surroundings.

Budapest

There aren’t many cities like Budapest. The Hungarian capital is an excellent mix of incredible architecture, proud heritage and a vibrant social scene. Bisected by the Danube River, either side of the water possesses their own personality. On the west, Buda is hilly and home to many of the city’s historic sightseeing destinations. Springtime temperatures make for perfect conditions to embark on a hike up Buda Hill for panoramic views of the river and Pest to the east. Here, you’ll find the spectacular neo-gothic Matthias Church, the seven spires of the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Hospital in the Rock, a former hospital built in secret under the castle before WWII.
 
In comparison, across the Lion-guarded Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Pest is flatter and where you’ll find bustling cafés, restaurants and Ruin Bars. Wander along the sweeping tree-lined boulevards, taking in the impressive architecture, and witness the magnitude of the Hungarian Parliament Building as it looks truly magical lit up at night.
 
Budapest’s bathing heritage dates all the way back to Roman times and has become an integral part of the city. Experience the soothing, restorative waters of one of the city’s many thermal baths after a thrilling day of sightseeing and enjoy living as the locals have for centuries.


Visit Budapest on our 5-day Tastes of Imperial Europe itinerary. This shorter itinerary is perfect for first time river cruisers, introducing you to the most iconic sights and landmarks of Europe’s best-loved rivers.

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